Opinion: Picking a Munster Railway Cup team

The Railway Cup was an annual tournament that brought together the games very best in both hurling and football that saw the Provinces compete against one another.

The competition was a huge attraction in the 20th century but declined during the 00’s and 10’s with the last tournament taking place in 2016.

Connacht cited fixture congestion and lack of spectator interest as reasons for them pulling out in 2017 which lead the others to follow suit.

Yet, it is interesting to consider who would win the competition if it was to be played again.

Below I will select my Munster Hurling XV if the Railway Cup was to return in 2020.

In the interest of fairness, each of the five Munster championship sides, Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Cork and Waterford will all have three players selected in the XV.

There are a number of notable exclusions, including current Hurler of the Year due to the above restriction but the below team is still laden in top class players.


1.Stephen O’Keeffe (Waterford)

O’Keeffe was All-Star goalie in 2017 and has been pivotal in Ballygunner’s six-in-a-row Waterford titles.

Corner Back

2. Sean Finn (Limerick)

Simply put, the best corner back in the game, back-to-back All-Star winner and one of the first names on the team.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 19/8/2018 Galway vs Limerick Limerick’s Sean Finn lifts the Liam McCarthy Cup Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Full Back

3. David McInerney (Clare)

McInerney has played in various positions for Clare and has excelled at midfield in this years League, but his best form for Clare came at full back when he was awarded an All-Star there in 2013.

Corner Back

4. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)

If Finn is the best corner back in the country, Barrett is a very close second. One of the key reasons for Tipp’s upturn in fortune for the 2019 season.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 5, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 16/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Aaron Gillane in action against Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Half Back

5. Brendan Maher (Tipperary)

Was the best player in Ireland throughout 2019 between club and county. Can play anywhere and a must have in any XV.

Centre Back

6. Declan Hannon (Limerick)

Iit’s no surprise that Hannon’s move to centre-back coincided with Limerick’s upturn in fortunes. The quarterback on Kiely’s side. The best at what he does in the country.

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 4, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Co. Limerick 9/6/2019 Limerick vs Clare Limerick’s Declan Hannon celebrates scoring a first half point Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Half Back

7. Mark Coleman (Cork)

The young Blarney defender has taken to the intercounty scene with ease since his debut in 2017. Nominated for young hurler of the year in first two seasons. A class act at wing-back.


8. Jamie Barron

Was the nation’s standout player in 2017, but has struggled as Waterford have gone two years without a championship victory. On his day is a match for anyone with all the components you would want from a midfielder.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 3, Walsh Park, Co. Waterford 2/6/2019 Waterford vs Limerick Waterford’s Jamie Barron with Cian Lynch of Limerick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry


9. Noel McGrath

Should have been Hurler of the Year, his influence on the Tipperary machine was second to none. A masterstroke by Liam Sheedy to put him at midfield.

Half Forward

10. Seamus Harnedy

Harnedy is criminally underrated across the country. He has been Cork’s most consistent player since he burst onto the scene in 2013. Could well have a Celtic Cross medal had he not fallen injured against Limerick in 2018.

29 July 2018; Séamus Harnedy of Cork has a shot on goal, late in the second half, saved by Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, as Dan Morrissey, centre, closes in during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Centre Forward

11. Tony Kelly

Kelly has probably suffered as Clare have in recent years but his 2013 campaign at just 19 was mesmerizing. Looked to be back to his best in the League this year notching 0-51 in five games.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 5, Cusack Park, Ennis, Co. Clare 17/6/2018 Clare vs Limerick Clare’s Tony Kelly and Cian Lynch of Limerick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Half Forward

12. John Conlon

While he is more accustomed to the full forward berth, Conlon is equally adept on the wing where he was an All-Ireland winner in 2013. Superb ball winner with an eye for a score.

Corner Forward

13. Aaron Gillane

Has blossomed into one of the finest forward in the country. Can win it anyway and is Limerick’s No.1 target on each attack.

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 4, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Co. Limerick 9/6/2019 Limerick vs Clare Limerick’s Aaron Gillane celebrates scoring his sides first goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Full Forward

14. Stephen Bennett

Lit it up at minor winning an All-Ireland but took his time to adapt to intercounty. Over the past 18 months he has taken his game to another level notching 3-7 from play in the league this Spring.

Corner Forward

15. Pat Horgan

The country’s premier marksman, Horgan is one of the greatest ever not to in a Celtic Cross medal. Yet, as a hurler of the year nominee last year, Horgan is as good as ever and if Cork are to end the famine, the Glen Rovers man will be central to that.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 2, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 19/5/2019 Limerick vs Cork Cork’s Patrick Horgan celebrates scoring his sides goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Notable exclusions

Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue & Graeme Mulcahy (Limerick), Seamus Callanan & Paudie Maher (Tipperary), Bill Cooper & Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork), Jack Browne & Shane O’Donnell (Clare), Kevin Moran & Austin Gleeson (Waterford)

Team In Full

Social Sharing

Posted in

John Kiely’s management team confirmed for 2024

Joe O'Connor returns to the fold as High Performance Manager, joined by John Flavin who comes into the ...
Read More

Donal O’Sullivan announces intercounty retirement

The news that the Monaleen man is retiring from intercounty football will be greeted with great disappointment. Limerick ...
Read More

Lacklustre Na Piarsaigh bow out to Ballygunner

Na Piarsaigh slumped to a four point loss in their Munster Senior Club Hurling Championship semi-final, against Ballygunner ...
Read More

Aaron Gillane wins 2023 Hurler of the Year

Patrickswell sharpshooter Aaron Gillane crowned a superb 2023 for both himself and Limerick by claiming the 2023 All ...
Read More

Limerick rewarded with magnificent seven All-Star spots following remarkable four-in-a-row

The Treaty County lead the way with Kilkenny capturing five places, Clare having two and Galway's Conor Whelan ...
Read More

Newcastle West exit Munster championship after Clonmel Commercials loss

Jimmy Lee's men bowed out of the provincial championship after a seven-point loss in FBD Semple Stadium on ...
Read More

‘1973: Keeping the Dream Alive‘ officially launches at the Woodlands

Limerick's 1973 All-Ireland win has been commemorated with the release of this new book, which was launched on ...
Read More

Newcastle West clinch three-in-a-row while Mungret promoted to Senior | Football Finals Round-Up

Jimmy Lee's men won by the minimum in the TUS Gaelic Grounds, with Mungret St Paul's getting past ...
Read More